A programmer’s Saturday morning ritual is interrupted by a loud knocking from a soldier in Legionnaire armor with the ancient city of Rome behind him.
Despite being “a grown-ass adult,” Lucas had a Saturday morning ritual of enjoying a bowl of sugary cereal while watching cartoons on a streaming service in his PJs. He lived alone in his one-bedroom Oklahoma City apartment, which freed him from judgmental remarks from roommates – though he was prepared to defend himself. The routine was his special way to unwind after a week of coding at Deep Fork Technology.
Lucas nearly choked on the first bite of his cereal from the sudden, thunderous knock on the front door.
He grumbled under his breath, “Who could this be?” as he paused the show on his TV to answer the call.
Upon opening the door, a man in full Legionnaire armor stood before Lucas with the ancient city of Rome behind the soldier. Lucas stuck his head out the entrance to study the scene. In his mind, this had to be an elaborate prank. Still, he could feel the sunshine and smell the summer breeze, contrasting the snowy weather he knew was happening in Oklahoma City. The outside building of his apartment matched the clay exterior of a Roman house.
“Are you Lucas?” the Legionnaire interrupted.
Lucas turned his attention to the soldier, now noticing the bloody rag around his leg. “Yes, I’m Lucas.”
The soldier let himself inside. “I was told this would be a safe place.”
Lucas closed the door. “Who are you?”
“I am Barbados. You have a strange home here.”
“How are you able to communicate with me?”
“What do you mean? We are speaking Latin.”
“No, we’re speaking English.”
“English? What’s this English?”
“Never mind. Who sent you here?”
Barbados fell into the worn-out, brown thrift-store bought couch. “This man in this strange, pinkish outfit I have never seen. New fashion, I suppose. Pointed me to your door and said you were a healer.”
“I tried to be a doctor, but I switched majors to programming,” Lucas explained.
“I did not understand a word you just said.”
Lucas thought for a moment to best word the situation. “I’m not a healer.”
Barbados nodded in understanding. “I see.”
Although Lucas didn’t have much medical training, he did recognize a dying person and rushed to his side. He kneed by him, stuck in a state of what to do, as Barbados took his last breath. Lucas checked his pulse. There was none.
Before he had much time to think about what to do next, there was a knock at the door. Lucas opened the door to a tall, slender man in a pink suit with bold, black outlines and a woman in a red dress from the Roman era. Something about their appearance–perhaps their black hair–made Lucas think they were siblings. The scene behind them was of a rainy night in a futuristic neon city.
The two individuals let themselves inside and headed straight to Barbados.
“Don’t mind us,” the man in the pink suit said. “We’re here to collect Barbados.”
The woman lifted Barbados from the legs while the man grabbed him from the other end.
“Have a nice day,” the woman said as she walked back past Lucas.
The strangers closed the door behind themselves. Lucas waited a few seconds, trying to process what happened, and opened the front door. Outside was his snow-covered apartment building. The cold wind whipped his face, telling him this was real. Lucas closed the door and returned to his cereal as that’s all he could think to do.
In the raining neon city, the man and the woman dropped Barbados on the alleyway pavement. The man opened Barbados’ eyes and pulled out a contact lens. He handed the lens to the woman.
“I’ll get the footage processed right away,” the woman said. “How are you feeling about this episode so far, Loki?”
Loki pulled out a black pen from inside his suit jacket. He shook the device, and the writing utensil transformed into a staff as tall as himself. He poked at Barbados with the bottom end of the staff.
“I’m not sure yet, Raven. I think Barbados died too soon to have any comical moments with Lucas. We’ll try again, but with different people.”
This week’s prompted short story was inspired by the following idea: “You awake one Saturday morning to frantic banging on your front door. Upon opening the door you see in front of you a man in full Legionnaire armor and behind him the ancient city of Rome.”